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Doggie Desensitization

Posted Jul 10 2008 4:06pm


Since hearing those words,“We’re losing him, Sunshine,”my mind has been in overdrive (big surprise). Reality has set in. I realize wholeheartedly that it’s time to enjoy every day possible with our Oboe.

The hubby and I only have two, small, weekend trips planned for the summer. We’re foregoing significant vacations this year, still getting acclimated to the “new normal” and also balking at the high prices of flights to Caribbean beaches. Instead we’ve turned our annual summer picnic bash into a Calypso-themed event to get our fix of sand, surf, and Marley tunes. To get our “away from the world and unplugged” fix, we planned a two-nighter inGeneva-on-the-Lake, Ohioand a one-nighter visiting my sister-in-law just outside ofCook Forest, PA. Mini-trips, but still escapes.

If these were normal times, Oboe would take his own mini-vacation, staying withour wonderful boarder, having his own escape. But these aren’t normal times. He’s on several medications and fighting discomfort constantly. I like to think the hubby and I bring him some of that needed comfort. He is still scared to venture off the back deck, assuming each visit into the yard will come with a painful potty process. (Heck, you’d avoid the bathroom too if you were in excruciating pain during each visit). We’ve taken to tricking him to get him off the deck, showing him that good things – like ‘chase the stick’ – take place in the yard, too. More psychotherapy from the hubby, only this time with the dog! There are times the hubby has to carry Oboe all the way out to the back of the yard. Otherwise, we’re not sure he’d ever go by himself. His symptoms, just like so many of the symptoms of M.S., aren’t obvious to the naked eye. Only those who know him best will know when he is uncomfortable, or worse, in pain. Because of all of this, I was having a hard time coming to terms with boarding him twice in one-month’s time. He may be perfectly healthy in a few more weeks as he continues to recover from his recent surgery, but he also may not.

Yes, here come my two favorite words:What ifsomething happened? What ifhe won’t go outside for the boarder? What ifhe’s sick and our boarder doesn’t know it? Worse,what ifsomething happens to him while we’re gone? What ifwe spend a fortune on a non-refundable hotel room and have to come back home to retrieve him? Plus, we only have so much time left with him, I just can’t bear to take three or four of those days and leave him behind. But we still want to go on our trips. Actually weneedto go on our trips. They will be better than therapy.

What else is there to do? We’re taking the pup along with us! I phoned the resort we’re visiting in Geneva and who knew? They have pet-friendly rooms. On the plus side, in a pet friendly room, we get a beautiful view of the lake with a patio that leads right out of the back of our room. On the con side of the list, we get stuck with two double beds. Funny, we had to push two double beds together on our honeymoon, karma? We had to change our travel dates up a little due to heavy booking of the pet-friendly rooms, but we made it work. Overbooked pet-friendly rooms? I guess other peopledotravel with their pets (I hope there isn’t a snake staying next door).

Of course now we have a whole new set of “What if?”questions. What ifOboe isn’t comfortable without us in a strange hotel room? (Well, it has a bed – or two rather – a television and air conditioning. What else could the big fella want)? What ifwe feel tied down to the hotel room, afraid to leave him? (So very many wineries have their own “Wine Dogs” in residence, I’m guessing they are all pet-friendly environments. Oboe loves to lie in the car; we’ll just take him from winery to winery with us, giving him the chance to stretch his legs at the doggie-desensitized ones).What ifhe barks all night and bothers the neighbors? (Well, that one’s a stretch – he’s not a big ‘bark at every sound’ kinda dog. So, I guess the real question is:What ifneighboring dogs bark all night? This was actually the hubby’s worry despite the fact the man can sleep through a tornado! I’m guessing with all those beautiful wineries within a five mile radius, we’ll locate some tasty ‘night-night’ juice for you, sweetie).  I’ve even identified what looks to be a great pet hospital nearby, just in case. 

Sure, this definitely mixes things up a little for us. Our wine tasting trip may not be exactly as we originally planned, but it’s OK. The hubby is being very accommodating and understanding, albeit a little hesitant.  We’ll make it work – for all of us. Plus, by the time our trip to Cook Forest arrives, we’ll be pros. We’ll only be at the hotel to sleep and we’ll spend the day, with Oboe in toe, hanging outside a beautiful forest cabin with Oboe’s extended family surrounding him. He’ll be right at home.

It looks like we’re off on another life adventure. It sure sounds like a great way to make a few more memories with our furry child. 

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